Thursday, 18 September 2014

Stay in Style

If you fancy rubbing shoulders with movie stars then book a room at the luxury Athenaeum Hotel in Mayfair.  Just down the road from the Palace.

Rumour has it that when it was the home of the Duke of Newcastle had to sell it to pay off his gambling debts.  The house then enjoyed a spell of being a gentlemen's club favoured by MP's and Lords before finally becoming a luxury hotel favoured by the Beverley Hills set.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Union Jack

We've  seen more of the union jack flying around the country in the past few weeks than in all the time I've lived here.  Just one more day before we know its fate.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Monday, 15 September 2014

Duke in Soap

For close to a hundred years a stone statue of the Duke of Cumberland stood on this plinth.  However he fell from grace in the 19th century.  No longer a hero he was now regarded as  Butcher Cumberland.  The statue was removed.

In 2012 Korean artist Meekyoung Shin was commissioned to create a new work for the plinth.  The Duke on his horse returned to the plinth.  This time he is created in soap.  We are invited to watch him fade over time and throughout the seasons as the soap disintegrates and releases a perfumed aroma.  Limbs have fallen off and both man and horse are crumbling for a second time.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

on yer bike Ted ...

As they go whizzing by me I am forever thinking that all cyclist’s seem to be skinny and muscly and it makes me wonder if I should take it up.

The Tour of Britain road race has been going on around the country for the last seven days and is due to finish in London today.  When they get here they will have cycled  790 miles (1272 kilometres).  

It all got me to thinking about food (naturally) and specifically what do cyclists eat and drink on the road?  You’ll be pleased to know that my investigations revealed that they do actually eat (I was dubious about this given their size) and … "it's food Jim, but not as we know it".

I went to a rather famous bike shop called Condor Cycles to see what was on offer.  I scanned the shelves and first I found this stuff that you add to your water to keep you topped up with all the right iso-what's-it’s as you zoom along the highway (does it sound safe to be drinking while you’re zooming on the highway?).

Anyway … onto the “food”. I bought a selection of "protein and energy bars" so I could do a taste test in the comfort of my own lyrca and fluro free home.

So how did the taste test go. Well … for starters the Doll refused to partake, saying that she only ate real food. I ventured bravely on by myself, hoping that I was not about to do my taste buds irreparable damage. I decided that the best rating scale would be a 1 to 5 (B-BBBBB) "blurk-ometer". The higher the blurko-meter rating the more “unpleasant” and “unfood-like” they were…

Cliff bar - B - it looks and tastes like an Anzac biscuit, delicious even.
Mule Bar - BB - it did taste a bit like strudel and didn't have too many raisins to stick in your teeth.
Promax diet - BBB - technically a high protein bar for weight loss, chocolately with a funny texture.
ZV9 protein recovery bar - BBBBB - disgusting, tasted horrid, it was like trying to swallow bubble gum (and you’re not supposed to do that when you’re an adult) and it even looked awful.

So that’s another tough job done by Ted to save you all from having to expose yourselves to culinary danger (what a hero).

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Brickbats and Bouquets

A bouquet to Islington Council for this plaque to commemorate the men who lost their lives in WWI.

Was this really the only place in the street suitable for the plaque?  A brickbat Islington.  It really does deserve better than this.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Poets and Bluegrass

Take a bus and get off somewhere interesting.  Such a fun thing to do in a city like London.  This adventure took me to Kentish town to a street of houses dating back to 1848 that has some interesting locals.  A bluegrass banjo player, a famous actor and the renown Torriano poets. 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Another Bench

There is still a few more weeks left to enjoy the book benches.  Today's bench is inspired by author Jacqueline Wilson.  I wonder if the girl seated is a fan of her books.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


I guess not happy days for the Queen as she watches the and waits to see if Scotland remains part of her kingdom.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

New Dress

Re-Dress is the name of the new art work at the entrance of Edgware Road underground station.  Designed by artist Jacqueline Poncelet, the brightly coloured panels are a companion to an art work titled"wrapper."  

Wrapper also designed by Poncelet, covers the entire exterior of the building behind the station.  The works certainly brighten up what has been a rather dull corner of the city.  

Monday, 8 September 2014

Hubbing Along

I think I found the mysterious hubcap thief.  Or maybe just the most difficult street to park in.  It certainly makes for a very unique fence. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Ted dances to the beat of the tom toms

It’s the height of “love apple” season, but tomatoes haven't always been looked upon with favour.

While we might not agree on the spelling, apparently we do all agree that tomatoes originated in the Andes in South America, in what is now Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador. They were cultivated by the Aztec's and the Incas as early as 700AD.  The Aztec name for them as “tomatl” – so it's not exactly a quantum leap to “tomato” is it.  Tomatoes first arrived in Europe in the 16th century, most likely in some Spanish Conquistador’s carry on hand luggage.  Funnily enough the first tomatoes cultivated in Europe were yellow and hence how they got their name “golden apple”.  They were also known as "peruvian apples", and by the scholarly Latin types as Lycopersicon, or “wolf peach” to the rest of us every day Elizabethans at the time. 

Red tomatoes came along pretty quickly and the Elizabethans being a suspicious lot thought that the bright red colour was a clear case of “danger Will Robinson danger” and that they were poisonous. Eventually it became widely accepted that they were perfectly safe and good to eat, and by the very late 16th century there were tomato growers in the UK. It took the industrious Victorians to turn their attention to tomatoes and production of many different varieties began on a commercial scale once they had built the first glasshouses in Kent and Essex (they had to sort out large scale production of glass sheets first of course … there’s always something isn’t there …).  By this time the French had decided that the humble tomato had aphrodisiac properties and duly named them, with a huge flourish and a party with champagne (that was the real aphrodisiac) “pommes d'amour” or “love apples”.

But Ted, I hear you say, they are actually members of the nightshade family after all, like that delightfully named, but deadly nightshade, Belladonna, so just to be on the safe side we probably should not eat too many of them should we?  Nah you’re perfectly safe, just don’t gnaw on the leaves or the stalks though as they do contain tomatine and it’s a toxic glycoalkaloid (I have no idea what that is but it sounds scary doesn't it).  Nowadays of course tomatoes are the most widely grown and well-travelled 'vegetable' (being really a fruit) in the world.  Why tomato seedlings have even been grown in space!!!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Summer Fun

It just wouldn't be summer without the "changing rooms" installation.  It first appeared in 2007 and has appeared nearly every summer since. (I think there may have been 1 year it didn't).  Try stepping into a room without getting wet.  The jets of water drop down to allow you in or out.  During the day the small kids just run through the rooms.  In the evening its the "big kids" who play.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Old Entrance

The stone entrance is all that remains of the old school building in Peckham Rye.  A glimpse of the shiny new one can be seen to the left.  

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Dickens Bench

Time for another bench about town.  This one is Dickens in Liverpool.  A dickens inspired book bench created by the pupils of Hillside High school in Bootle, Liverpool. The perfect spot to sit and admire St Paul's Cathedral.
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